I'm not one of those people that wants to completely cut myself off from others when I'm miserable. That might actually be a decent option compared to what my inclinations are. Instead, I want to pull others down with me. I want the world to know that I'm miserable and to feel desperately sorry for me--and guilty about their lack of misery. On a day like Mother's Day, I want to rain a little on the happiness of all the mothers around me.
Isn't that horrible? I know it's natural and human and normal and all, but I still don't think it's right, and so I'm working on channeling that self-pity into better places--like more compassion and sensitivity for others feeling miserable.
But back to Sunday. I woke up feeling awful and wanted the world to know it. But I also really care what others think about me, so I wasn't about to do anything really overtly horrible and mean. Instead, I posted this simple status update to Facebook:
Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day: Holidays during which those who have unintentionally rub salt in the wounds of those who have not.I was a little unsure about whether I should post it or not. As much as I wanted to ruin others' happiness, I didn't want them to think I was trying to ruin their happiness. But I thought that update was fairly innocuous, and would perhaps just alert the people who really care about me that I wasn't doing so great.
I got home from church later and saw that I had a Facebook message from my mother-in-law. Actually, it was from my father-in-law's account, which made me really nervous at first because I didn't really want any sappy messages from him. But my MIL likes to write from his account sometimes (I can't figure out why--she has her own), so it was from her. And here is what it said:
You have been on my mind much yesterday and again this morning. Thank you for making my Mother's Day special with the surprise of flowers. They are beautiful. Your way with words is beautiful as well. Your facebook post flows almost poetically while sharing such an ache. Your compassion for and sensitivity to others is a good reminder for us all. May God hold you close to Himself today and give you great blessings.I started crying as soon as I read it. I found out later that she had been crying as she posted it. Pete told his parents last summer that we were having some issues trying to get pregnant, but we haven't really talked to them about it since. I think, like so many others, they think that we might not want them to bring it up. Or they just feel awkward about it. Their family has never been that great at having conversations about deeper-level issues. (As a side note, why do so many people think we don't want them to ask how we're doing in the infertility department? When I'm feeling down, I desperately want to talk about it, but the last thing I need is the pressure to have to bring it up myself.) So this was the first time my MIL had directly communicated with me about it, and the first time she expressed that she was really hurting for me.
I can't even explain how much that meant to me. Pete's younger sister got pregnant "accidentally" (of course!) within a year of her wedding, so the in-laws have one granddaughter already. I don't know why, but somehow that fact together with their lack of communication about our infertility had actually left me feeling slightly hurt, though I knew there wasn't any reason to be and completely understood where they were. Pete talked to his mom later that afternoon and just let her know that we do appreciate being asked about how things are going. It's therapeutic to talk about it, and to know people care and are praying for us.
He also encouraged her to call me sometime next week, when he'll be gone (Sunday through Friday). She probably will. And I have to say that I'm actually a little nervous about it. I dislike talking on the phone, and I've never talked to her about issues I'm really, deeply struggling with. So I anticipate some awkwardness, and I hate awkwardness. I also anticipate that I might cry, thus compounding the awkwardness--especially on the phone. But if she does call, I know she'll be stepping out of her way to show love to me, so I suppose I can be a little vulnerable and at least talk back.